Driving Growth, Creating jobs & opportunities for the Tees Valley A statutory consultation on organisational change The Northern School of Art has been a central part of the cultural and creative life of the area for many decades. Generations of people have learned with us and seen their families do the same. Students aged 8-16 can now join us in Saturday Club and study with us all the way through to achieving a Master’s degree. Our ambition is to become a university for the creative industries. We have a well-established track record of delivering the highest quality teaching and learning to our higher education students. The organisational changes we are proposing are one essential step on this journey. We have already applied for degree awarding powers which we should have by late summer 2024. By establishing ourselves as a Higher Education Institution (HEI) we will unlock the door to subsequently applying for university title. We aim to emulate the trajectory of other specialist institutions. Previous experience indicates that the heightened institutional profile which results from becoming an HEI and gaining university title will increase undergraduate student numbers. In turn this will strengthen the institution’s financial position, providing additional resources to improve already excellent provision at both further and higher education levels. Our further education provision has been judged Outstanding by Ofsted since 2009. We are committed to enhancing our outstanding further education provision at our new Middlesbrough Campus with its excellent results and progression for students. We see this as fundamental to our mission to provide opportunities for the whole community. In recent years our Newport Road Campus has seen significant growth in student numbers and our Saturday Clubs are also thriving and growing. Similarly, we are dedicated to providing an accessible route into higher education at our Hartlepool campus. The additional resources which will result from our proposed changes will enable us to continue to invest to improve our further education provision. Close association with a higher education institution – ultimately a university – will bring additional benefits for our further education students. In June the Government and Creative Industries Council published a new vision for the creative industries. We welcome its recognition of the importance of our sector and the ambitions it sets out. The School is already a part of this future but the proposed changes will enable us to contribute more fully to developments in the region. In particular, whilst The Northern Studios, our commercial TV/film studios in Hartlepool, mean that we are well-placed to support the development of the screen industries in our region, the proposed changes will enable us to do more. As we set out throughout our consultation document, our aim is simply to do more, and the proposed change will unlock the door to this. We urge you to support our proposed changes, and welcome any comments that you may have. Tim Bailey Chair of the Governing Corporation Board


The UK’s creative industries are an engine for growth, growing at up to 5 times as fast as the economy as a whole. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has recognised them as one of five priority sectors for growth. The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority has made the sector one of the key priorities for the region. This is an exciting time for the screen sector in the North East with all local authorities, the education sector, the BBC and industry coming together with a £37m programme to drive growth. The Northern School of Art has been at the heart of this as a partner and a catalyst. Since 2017 we have:
  • Continued as an Ofsted Outstanding provider (last inspection in 2022).
  • Been awarded Gold in the 2017 higher education Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) with a record of outstanding provision which we expect will continue.
  • Relocated our FE provision to the brand-new Newport Road campus.
  • Expanded our HE campus in Hartlepool with the Church Street and Scott buildings.
  • Grown our student numbers and continued to develop our curriculum in partnership with our industry partners.
  • Introduced postgraduate courses
  • Worked with Hartlepool Council to develop and realise The BIS creative workspace
  • Submitted our application for Degree Awarding Powers in May 2022.
  • Created The Northern Studios in partnership with Tees Valley Combined Authority and Hartlepool Council.
This final accomplishment is at the heart of catalysing the screen industry in the North East and is the lynch pin for Hartlepool council’s £19m Production Village and the wider growth of production activity across the region. Our ambition is to become a university for the creative industries. The organisational changes we are proposing are one essential step on this journey, enabling us to do even more to support students and industry. We want to know what you think about our plans to create a new group structure, becoming The Northern School of Art (a designated Higher Education Institution in Hartlepool) and The Northern College of Art (a Specialist Further Education College in Middlesbrough). We want to make this a reality in August 2024.